We knew it would happen. It was bound to happen. We figured, Japan, China, Vietnam–any place where the food was strange and the menus are in another language. But no. It happened here in safe, English speaking New Zealand–food poisoning! After a rough night of sleep, Phil woke up feeling a little off kilter, which led to feeling awful as he “vommed” up the dinner from last night. We didn’t go to some shady restaurant or anything. This place was very highly rated on Trip Advisor. And to be fair, the dinner was lovely, it was just the aftermath that left a little something to be desired.
We considered blaming Phil’s Aunt Joanne, who wanted to know if he had tried the lamb in New Zealand yet. So, he ordered lamb. Everyone can guess how that worked out. I actually blame Phil, who touted cute pictures of lambs laying lazily in the fields as we drove through the countryside, then turned his back on them by eating lamb for dinner. It is a bit of cosmic revenge, wouldn’t you agree? Whoever is to blame, let’s just say it was a bit of a rough day for Phil, which is really too bad because it was a gorgeous, spring-like day here in Wellington.
Once we got Phil up and on his feet, we decided to take a drive along the Wellington coastline. It is absolutely beautiful, with waves crashing against the shore, native birds swooping over the beach and people coming out in droves to enjoy the sunshine and uncharacteristically mild August day. As we wound our way around the coast, we saw a sign for a penguin crossing! How cool would it have been to see penguins! Sadly, it was not meant to be. However, we were able to glimpse the snow-capped mountains of the South Island as we looked out across Cook Strait. Just seeing them made us even more sad we won’t be able to make it there on this trip. Next time, I suppose.
What has been really great about today is getting to spend time with our lovely Air BnB hosts, Sara and Danny. Knowing Phil wasn’t feeling up to par, Danny insisted we join them for a homemade dinner that “wouldn’t poison us.” We sat on the deck, drinking wine and watching the sunset, as Danny cooked up a delicious dinner on the barbecue. We talked about lots of cultural reference points regarding both America and New Zealand. We were discussing all that we learned on our trip to the museum yesterday, when Sara brought up Danny’s film “Rage.” Danny Mulheron is a director, actor and teacher at the Film Institute and he made a truly engrossing film about the 1981 Springbok Tour. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until I visited New Zealand. It is the fascinating story of the South African rugby team’s visit to New Zealand in 1981. Because South Africa engaged in apartheid, the Maori rugby players were not allowed to play against the Springbok when they played in South Africa. Now that the team was visiting New Zealand, many citizens refused to stand by and support their racist policies. The civil unrest that followed is fascinating and Danny captured it well on film. We watched the movie alongside Danny and found it to be a very unique experience to screen a film with the director. We have a lot more insight into his choices, the actors and the history of the story. In short, we had an awesome evening!
Sadly, it seems our time in Wellington is winding down, as is our time in New Zealand. Tomorrow, we begin the journey back north to Auckland. We won’t make the drive all the way in one day, as it is rather far and don’t want to spend the whole day in the car. We are just glad that Phil is feeling back to himself and we won’t have to change the name of our spaceship from “Vela” to “Vomit Comet”!